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Keeping Yourself Organized
Organizing your literature review can be a challenge, but it's important that you find a method that works for you. Fortunately, there are many tools and platforms out there designed to help you! Zotero and Mendeley are two good options, but BGSU Libraries subscribes to and supports RefWorks.
RefWorks is a bibliographic management tool lets you export citations from databases. You can then use RefWorks to store citations and generate a bibliography in your preferred citation style guide. You'll find a lot of great assistance on the RefWorks LibGuide, and I am also available to assist and help answer questions. (See my contact info in the box to the right.)
Organizing Your Lit Review: Spreadsheet Style. This article includes practical advice from a grad student about staying organized during the lit review process.
Books About Writing Process
Here are some tips for conducting literature reviews:
1. How do you know that you have found the pivotal works on a topic?
- Use a wide range of search tools including local, state, and national book catalogs. See the Finding Books tab of this guide.
- Use subject-specific article databases to search through scholarly journal literature.
- Don't forget to use Google Scholar. This is especially great for entering the name of a theory for example. Try searching for self-efficacy. You will see that the first result points to Bandura's work. An indicator that this is an important work in the field is that his work has been cited by 11,000 other authors.
- You know that your searches for information are nearing completion when you start seeing references to the same authors or research pieces.
2. How do you track down citations from a reference list at the end of a journal article or book chapter?
- Look carefully at the citation to determine what type of information you are looking for. Is it a book, an article, or a dissertation? This will be a clue as to what type of search tool you need to use to find the source. If the citation is for a book, then you will need to use a catalog. If it is for an article, then you will typically need to use an article database.
- The easiest way to find out if BGSU Libraries has the full-text of an article is to simply enter the article title into SUMMON. Be sure to put quotation marks around the title before hitting the search button. If we do not have the article you are looking for, fill out an Interlibrary Loan form and we will email it to you for free within a few days.
Tips and book list compiled by Dr. Colleen Boff, Head Librarian, Curriculum Resource Center (BGSU)